Carmel City Council considers audit committee


The Carmel City Council is proposing that an Audit Committee be formed to oversee city audits, taking away some responsibilities that were previously held by the Clerk-Treasurer’s Office. Under the proposal, the clerk-treasurer could not be appointed to this committee, but the City Council president would be an automatic member.

Clerk-Treasurer Christine Pauley and City Council President Ron Carter recently exchanged critical words of one another regarding the process of an ongoing city audit with which Pauley was involved. Carter questioned Pauley’s qualifications for her position and Pauley said she was being unfairly targeted by others.

Under the proposal, the City of Carmel would appoint an “Audit Committee” with five members:

President of the Carmel City Council. City Councilor Sue Finkam was selected as president for 2017.

  • A full-time city employee appointed by the mayor who is not the city’s fiscal officer for a one-year term
  • A resident appointed by the council who is a certified public accountant for a three-year term
  • A resident appointed by the council with a background in finance for a three-year term
  • A resident appointed by the mayor who is a CPA or has a background in finance who is not the city’s fiscal officer for a three-year term

No member can serve more than two consecutive terms.

Any member, except the council president, can be removed at any time by a two thirds vote of the council.

According to the proposal, the committee will review the results of all annual financial and compliance audits conducted by the Indiana State Board of Accounts or other auditing firms, recommend outside audit firms to be retained by the City through its Board of Public Works and Safety, maintain direct communication with the State Board of Accounts and/or any outside audit firms retained by the City, approve annual audit plans and review individual audit plans, review and approve internal audit reports before final distribution, resolve City audit issues and report annually to the City Council.

Carter said this ordinance is in response to the “sloppy job” that the Clerk-Treasurer’s Office did on a recent response to an audit, and in his view it strips the office of most of its powers in handling them. Pauley said she doesn’t see the ordinance that way, rather she believes her office will retain its responsibilities regarding audits but the new regulation would provide an extra set of eyes and ears for transparency and oversight.

In a separate proposed ordinance, the Council would change its rules of order to decrease the Clerk-Treasurer’s participation in bi-monthly City Council meetings. Under the “Order of Business” section, the amendment removes designated time for the clerk-treasurer to make comments at each meeting but leaves time for the mayor and city council. The ordinance would also allow the City Council president to “determine who may sit on the dais during any Council meeting,” which currently includes the clerk-treasurer.

Carter said it was decided that Pauley shouldn’t sit on the dais anymore because of her behavior during meetings and the fact that other elected officials do not sit there. He said she can speak during the public comment section like anyone else.

“There really is no need for her input unless we ask for it,” he said.

Pauley said this is just another petty attempt to silence her for sharing her viewpoints.

“Just to be clear, healthy public discord is good,” she said. “It’s when people in position of power abuse those powers to silence their opposition to create tyranny. This veiled attempt to justify silencing of opposition by the old guard of Carmel politics will be seen by the astute citizens of Carmel.”

Both ordinances were sponsored by all six councilors and were both sent to committee.